Man arrested in plot to blow up Federal Reserve bank in New York
The Federal Reserve Bank in New York was the apparent target of a terror plot, officials said Wednesday.
October 17th, 2012
04:08 PM ET

Man arrested in plot to blow up Federal Reserve bank in New York

Editor's note: Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, a 21-year-old man, has been arrested on suspicion of planning to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, federal officials said. Authorities say he attempted to detonate what he believed was a 1,000-pound bomb. Below are major developments as we received them. Read the full story here.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, of Bangladesh, is accused of planning a terrorist bombing in New York.

[Posted at 6:06 p.m. ET] Nafis, wearing street clothes and represented by a public defender, was arraigned a little while ago during a five-minute hearing in a New York courtroom. No bail application has been made. Prosecutors will have 30 days to officially indict him.

The public defender said she would not comment to reporters. Nafis will be held for now at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, U.S. attorneys say.

[Posted at 4:18 p.m. ET] Paul J. Browne, deputy commissioner of the New York City Police Department, released the following statement on the alleged plot:

"Whether al -Qaeda operatives like (2003 Brooklyn Bridge suspect) Iyman Faris or those inspired by them like (2011 suspect in bomb-making case) Jose Pimentel, terrorists have tried time and again to make New York City their killing field. We're up to 15 plots and counting since 9/11, with the Federal Reserve now added to a list of iconic targets that previously included the Brooklyn Bridge, the New York Stock Exchange, and Citicorp Center.

After 11 years without a successful attack, it's understanding if the public becomes complacent. But that's a luxury law enforcement can't afford.

Vigilance is our watchword now and into the foreseeable future. That's why we have over 1,000 police officers assigned to counter-terrorism duties every day, and why we built the Domain Awareness System. I want to commend the NYPD detectives and FBI agents of the Joint Terrorist Task Force for the work they did in the case and in other ways every day to help New York City safe from terrorists."

[Posted at 4:08 p.m. ET] U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch from the Eastern District of New York made the following statement regarding the alleged terror plot attack:

"As alleged in the complaint, the defendant came to this country intent on conducting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil and worked with single-minded determination to carry out his plan.

The defendant thought he was striking a blow to the American economy. He thought he was directing confederates and fellow believers. At every turn, he was wrong, and his extensive efforts to strike at the heart of the nation’s financial system were foiled by effective law enforcement.

We will use all of the tools at our disposal to stop any such attack before it can occur. We are committed to protecting the safety of all Americans, including the hundreds of thousands who work in New York’s financial district.

I would like to thank our partners at the FBI, NYPD, the other agencies who participate in the JTTF, and the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, for their hard work on this important investigation. I would also like to thank the security teams at the New York Federal Reserve Bank and the New York Stock Exchange for their assistance."

[Posted at 4:08 p.m. ET] Nafis appeared to have had a back-up plan.

He met an undercover agent that supplied him with what he thought were explosives on Wednesday morning. After meeting up, they both traveled in a van to a warehouse, the Justice Department said.

That’s apparently when Nafis told the agent he had a "Plan B."

If Nafis felt his attack was about to be thwarted by cops, he would invoke the back-up plan, which involved a suicide bombing operation, the criminal complaint alleges.

When the pair arrived at the warehouse, Nafis began putting together what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb inside the van. Then they drove together to the target: The New York Federal Reserve Bank. As they drove, he armed the purported by putting together the detonator and the explosives, the criminal complaint says.

The van was then parked next to the bank. The pair went to a nearby hotel, where Nafis apparently recorded a video statement meant to be shown to the American public in connection with the attack.

"We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom," he said, according to the criminal complaint.

He then tried, several times unsuccessfully, to detonate the device, which was actually inert explosives.

Nafis was then arrested.

A good portion of the sting operation was caught on tape, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

[Posted at 3:59 p.m. ET] The plot came to light as an FBI undercover agent posed as an al-Qaeda facilitator, federal authorities say.

Nafis asked the undercover agent for 50-pound bags of what he thought were explosives, and then worked on putting together an explosive device, according to prosecutors.

"Nafis purchased components for the bomb’s detonator and conducted surveillance for his attack on multiple occasions in New York City’s financial district in lower Manhattan," a Justice Department press release describing the criminal complaint said. “Throughout his interactions with the undercover agent, Nafis repeatedly asserted that the plan was his own and was the reason he had come to the United States."

[Posted at 3:56 p.m. ET] We now have some more detail about the plot to blow up the reserve bank from a press release that breaks down the criminal complaint filed against Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis:

The Bangladeshi national allegedly came to the United States in January to carry out a terror attack on U.S. soil and said he had overseas connections to al-Qaeda. As he attempted to recruit others to join his cell, he tried to recruit someone who turned out to be an FBI source, the criminal complaint says.

Nafis initially had a few targets in mind, according to the complaint, including  "a high-ranking U.S. official and the New York Stock Exchange." In the end, Nafis settled on the New York Federal Reserve Bank, federal officials said.

"In a written statement intended to claim responsibility for the terrorist bombing of the Federal Reserve Bank on behalf of al-Qaeda, Nafis wrote that he wanted to 'destroy America' and that he believed the most efficient way to accomplish this goal was to target America’s economy," the Justice Department press release said. "In this statement, Nafis also included quotations from 'our beloved Sheikh Osama bin Laden' to justify the fact that Nafis expected that the attack would involve the killing of women and children."

The "explosives that he allegedly sought and attempted to use had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement and posed no threat to the public," according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch.

[Posted at 3:41 p.m. ET] Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, was arrested for allegedly attempting to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in Manhattan, the Department of Justice and a U.S. attorney's office said in a press release.

He will be charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda, the press release said.

[Posted at 3: 40 p.m. ET] A man has been arrested for planning to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, according to a federal law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation.

The man was arrested as part of a string operation conducted by the FBI and NYPD as part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, a federal law enforcement source said.

"Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure. The defendant faces appropriately severe consequences," FBI Acting Assistant Director Mary Galligan said in a statement. "It is important to emphasize that the public was never at risk in this case, because two of the defendant’s ‘accomplices’ were actually an FBI source and an FBI undercover agent. The FBI continues to place the highest priority on preventing acts of terrorism."

soundoff (747 Responses)
  1. Shi

    I am Muslim, and I am sooooooo glad that they caught this KooKoo, people like him are Vile to the name of true Islam. What a nut.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amir

      Shi look around every place there is terror/fighting/war/anything violent you will find muslims involved in some form or other, why is that? Nothing against the Koran, but today's Imam's have just messed things up. Blind leading the blind.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheBob

      People like this are actually the real Muslims. They are obeying the commands of the Quran and Muhammad. And unless you're "killing infidels where you find them" you're not a Muslim.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • OldSchool

      @TheBob – I hope you're not a christian. If so, read Luke 19:27 and get back to us...

      October 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • SconnieGuz

      leave the country. There is no reason the rest of us should have to put up with you brainwashed, homicidal cult members.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jason

    Thank-you US law enforcement.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Paul " Look at ME!!! I'm working in a soup kitchen!!" Ryan

    There's terrorists in NY. Let's attack NY!!!!!!! Off the books of course.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. lily

    Obama sure is good at catching fake terrorists-using sting operations--but when they are r the real ones–like in Benghazi-he SUCKS

    October 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe (Houston, Texas)

    Let me get this straight. You wanted the FBI to slap him on the wrist and let the guy go for making a serious attempt at blowing up the Federal Reserve? You are so brilliant!!!

    October 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Barney

    Shocking. His name is Mohammad, what are the odds of that.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anti_Jihad

      Pretty good odds.
      You can bet on it.
      – Khalid Sheik Mohammed (911 Mastermind)
      – Mohammed Atta (911 hijacker/leader)
      – This terrorist
      Half of Pakistan is named Mohammed.
      The list is too long to fit here.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jack 3

    I'm sure this attack was for Islam. this guy is definitly muslim and i can't think of any reason he'd want to attck us unless it was for his religion.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MrLowe

    Great job to the FEDs on getting this guy. If it hadn't been a FED agent/source, Nafism could have acquired REAL explosives and made a REAL bomb...which would have meant a REAL problem.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Eichmann

    I wonder why they always aim at NYC? Why don't they aim for Washington DC? I guess they don't think much of our political hub. Can't blame them, really.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tez07

    The State Department has put out a statement that the act was apparently the result of the recent release of Kevin James's movie 'Here Comes the Boom'

    October 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Woah! Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafism? Really? I never remember that. Let's change it. O.K.? Quazmadrez Ahnudism? Hows that.
    In the movie Die Hard With A Vengence, the ever talented Jeromy Irons played the role of a criminal mastermind who was hell bent on robbing all the gold bullion from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This whole story plays the same way, even with hurting children, with the exception, this moron thought he could pull this off himself.
    Kinda makes you wonder if some of Hollywood rubbed of on these America hating sorts.
    Hats off to the FBI and police, for thier perseverence in capturing this sabateur.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. moralright

    As long as ALL explosives are controlled, there is no way some nut case can get his hands on the materials to build a bomb except...steel it from a company that already acquired the explosives or..chemicals to make the explosives.

    Glad he was caught. Muslims who are in his country are brainwashing the next generation of what the Koran is not!

    October 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Maltheus

    The FBI seems to win these things more often than Lance Armstrong. Hmmmm.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChrisVC

      Well yeah. They're the ones ultimately setting this stuff up. They're better at this terrorism stuff than the bafoons and wannabes they catch with these sting operations.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • InnerCynic

      This has FBI "staged false flag" all over it. Don't they ever grow tired of using the same worn out play book?

      October 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mary Jones

    Did this man from Bangladesh really think he would destroy America by blowing up a bank? What is the economy like in Bangladesh? Isn't that the country that George Harrison wrote a song about too many people starving? If he had connections to Al Quaeda, why was he let into the United States? He is only 21. Are they training young people to join Al Quaeda?

    October 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • RaySuman

      It amazes me, how these people think of involving in such a disguisting act. I'm from South Asia too, fulfilling my American dream here in the US. These some of the disguisting fanatic muslims are ruining the name of South Asia. If they have any problems, they should blow their own country or their government's buildings, not here. I don't know how our government had allowed so many Bangladeshis to be here. I think there are some more fanatic muslims among them. Shame on all you disguisting pigs who try to hurt this nation. God Bless America!

      October 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Steve

    Wow CNN is deleting a lot of comments!

    October 17, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
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